ScienceDaily: Graphene Layer Could Allow Solar Cells to Generate Power When it Rains

According to the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese researchers have now introduced a new approach for making an all-weather solar cell that is triggered by both sunlight and raindrops.

For the conversion of solar energy to electricity, the team from the Ocean University of China (Qingdao) and Yunnan Normal University (Kunming, China) developed a highly efficient dye-sensitized solar cell. In order to allow rain to produce electricity as well, they coated this cell with a whisper-thin film of graphene.

Dot Earth: Bill Gates Explains How to Make Climate Progress in a World Eating Meat and Guzzling Gas

After Bill Gates explained his strategy for boosting energy access while limiting climate change in a videotaped interview we published on Tuesday, readers were invited to submit questions for the Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist and investor.

Here are his answers to a few of the hundreds of questions he received on The Times and on Facebook, covering everything from artificial meat to Americans’ gas-guzzling driving preferences (with some light editing of his dictated responses).

MIT Technology Review: Texas and California Have Too Much Renewable Energy

In places with abundant wind and solar resources, like Texas and California, the price of electricity is dipping more and more frequently into negative territory. In other words, utilities that operate big fossil-fuel or nuclear plants, which are very costly to switch off and ramp up again, are running into problems when wind and solar farms are generating at their peaks.

With too much energy supply to the grid, spot prices for power turn negative and utilities are forced to pay grid operators to take power off their hands.

That’s happened on about a dozen days over the past year in sunny Southern California, according to data from Bloomberg, and it’s liable to happen more often in the future.

GreenBiz: Cities Battle States Over the Clean Power Plan

For seven cities in Florida, the costs of protecting against rising sea levels and repeated flooding have become overwhelmingly burdensome and, they say, represent a reason to support the Clean Power Plan.

Miami Beach, the city of Miami, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, West Palm Beach and Orlando are among 54 cities that joined the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities in submitting an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief in support of the Clean Power Plan.

However, Florida’s state government is among 27 states fighting the plan in court.

Delaware Online: DuPont Bets on Multibillion-Dollar Ethanol Industry

Scientists at the DuPont Experimental Station have developed a new fuel that could soon replace ethanol at gas pumps and bring in billions of dollars.

And now, with a patent dispute settled, DuPont and its partner BP can focus on convincing ethanol plants to convert to producing its product, bio-butanol, and take a big share of the $20-billion-plus U.S. ethanol market.

DuPont and BP have spent 11 years and hundreds of millions of dollars on the project, in which they tinkered with the genes of yeast and created a new oil-producing organism.